2017 FantaSci

Every year wizards, space pirates, the Doctor, and a menagerie of other fantastical creatures come together for one important event: FantaSci. Fantasci, CPL’s annual fantasy and Sci-fi convention, features a fantastic array of vendors, panels, and activities for kids from 1-99. Bring the family and feel free to dress to impress!

What is there to do at FantaSci? I’m glad you asked! Check out these epic adventures:

  • Guest author panel: O Gothic Novel. Leanna Renee Hieber, an actress, playwright and award-winning author of Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy will give a spirited, passionately entertaining discussion of the history of the Gothic novel, it’s beleaguered place in literary criticism, why we love and hate it, and why it’s a canary in the coal mine of society’s greatest fears. Come on, you know you want to go running away from an eerie mansion out into a thunderstorm in your nightgown. Let’s talk about it.
  • Activities: Doctor Who scavenger hunt, Dragon snot and Unicorn Drool, Bubbling potions, Gumdrop Dragon Building Contest, Fantasy games and more!
  • Vendors, vendors, vendors galore!
  • Various panels from Ghost Hunting 101 to the Jedi Lightsaber Academy.
  • Costume contest- that’s right; it’s time for some cosplay!

Whether you like to fight Daleks or perform magic spells, we’re here to celebrate your favorite fandom with you. Check us out on July 22 from 10AM-4PM.

20 Years of Harry Potter

Platform nine and three-quarters from Harry Potter

On June 26, 1997, struggling author J.K. Rowling’s first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was finally published by Bloomsbury in the UK after multiple rejections from other companies. It was published the next year in America by Scholastic under the name Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Today marks 20 years since Harry Potter was officially introduced – 20 years of the scrawny, black-haired, green-eyed, bespectacled boy enchanting readers all over the world.

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Staff Recommendation: American Gods

Book cover of Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"

One of Neil Gaiman’s best-known pieces of fiction, a topic of fascination and discussion for his sizeable fanbase, is the novel American Gods. It’s a high-concept doorstopper of a book, with both a universe-shattering frame story, and a series of thematically similar but otherwise unconnected vignettes. The frame story follows protagonist Shadow Moon as he accompanies the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (a barely disguised Odin from Norse tradition) as he rallies other half-forgotten deities from various mythologies and cultures. The focal antagonists are new “gods” based in the worlds of modern technology, like television and the Internet, and all are hard at work trying to capture Shadow to get him to fight for their side. The vignette stories mostly show us who the other gods are in this fictional universe, to flesh out the mythology and show us how these ancient beings might navigate a modern setting.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

With the newest entry in the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J. K. Rowling has once again proven herself a master of imagination. However, it’s important to remember that there are now two books bearing this same title: the screenplay which is the basis for the movie starring Eddie Redmayne, and the Hogwarts Library edition that serves as a facsimile of Harry Potter’s text book. Both are available through the Chesapeake Library, and both are quick, entertaining reads, but make sure you know which version you’re looking for. (Click on the book covers to go to that item’s catalog page!)

fantastic-beasts-screenplay       fantastic-beasts-text

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Finally, it’s my turn to read and review the eighth Harry Potter book!

This was one of the biggest surprises out of the Harry Potter world. I personally wasn’t expecting anything else after the last movie, and definitely didn’t think another book was coming. This new story picks up right where the last one left off, focusing on new characters, namely the children of Harry and Ginny Potter, Ron and Hermione Weasley, and Draco Malfoy. You’ll see the first generation quite often, but the time period and point of view are completely different. However, the setting–Hogwarts students navigating their way through school and the social heirarchy, one of whom is coping with everyone else having prior expectations about him due to circumstances entirely beyond his control–is very familiar.

The reactions so far have been extremely mixed. A number of my friends have loved it, hated it, or just been confused by it. My mother described it as “disturbing.” Now, honestly, I wasn’t that troubled by this, because I like disturbing stories. However, since so many have been wary of diving into this particular volume, I wanted to give as honest a reaction as possible. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”